Tag Archives: Empties

Skin Care Sunday – Some serums and creams

I don’t know how, but I often use things up simultaneously. I finished a bunch of treatments this week. And one I just broke up with.


Tony Moly’s Appletox Honey Cream is actually a gel. For me, the jury’s still out on those kinds of moisturizers. It wasn’t hydrating enough to use by itself on my dry skin, so I used it as a serum in conjunction with a cream. I loved the apple scent. And I washed out the container to reuse. But the cream itself I could take or leave.


I used this cream as a day moisturizer under a separate SPF. It wasn’t too heavy, smelled nice, and sat well under makeup and over serums. It would make a good light night moisturizer as well.


This is my second bottle of the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum, and I liked it just as much as the first bottle. My skin has gotten used to its strength. That doesn’t mean it’s not working though!


I tried it first as a night serum, but didn’t care for the texture and put it away. I pulled it out again and used it during the day. It’s not thick, but it is sticky. And silicony, which my skin doesn’t always appreciate. So I’m letting this one go.

De-stash & Trash Makeup – October 2015

I did a small purge of stuff at the end of the month, so I’m splitting up the D&T this time around!


My favorite empty this month is this mineral powder foundation from indie company Meow Cosmetics. This is the only product of this type that doesn’t make my skin itch or burn, enlarge my pores, or make me look like a disco ball. I can wear this by itself or over foundation or BB Cream. If they ever stop making it, I will cry.


Why yes, I did get sucked in by the packaging!

I finished up a Tony Moly pocket bunny. This was good for what it was, but I don’t think it’s any better than any other facial spray I have ever used. I equate it with the NYX dewey setting spray.

And then I purged some things that I knew I would never use. Some things I’ll give away and some will be tossed.


So. Many. Lip products.

I obtained most of these through sample bags and gift with purchases. With the exception of the pinup girl lip balm, which got really weird after a couple of months in a drawer, none of these are even remotely close to a color I would put on my face.


I cleared out some face products as well. I can’t handle most facial highlighters. Something about illuminating ingredients make the tops of my cheeks burn and break out so I end up using them as eyeshadows. The Doll 10 is a cream, and doesn’t work well for that. The other face products are way too orange for my super pale neutral skin.


Mascara and eyeliner! Both the Smashbox and Lancome were way too hard for my sensitive eyes. The NYX is an excellent tube mascara, but it doesn’t do much for volume. The two waterproof in the middle were too difficult to remove for me, but I do want to try the non-waterproof supersizer with Ulta’s Raincoat over the top. I loved it going on. And finally, the Catrice Better Than Waterproof is a lovely tube mascara but about a month in, it got a little plasticy.

That’s it for makeup! I’ll have a part 2 with skincare and a part 3 with masks coming up soon!

De-stash & Trash – September 2015

I’ve been up to a whole bunch over the past few months! My job’s busy season, acclimating to two new bosses, helping my brother move, lots of extra traveling. Frankly, I’m a bit pooped!

I have finished up some interesting things in the meantime, though!

I finished and purged several mascaras last month.


Obviously, not enough to fill a whole collage.

Right-to-left, first off, there’s Mirenesse’s Secret Weapon. I enjoyed the fancy-pants packaging. It had a Christmas tree-shaped natural brush. I liked that it didn’t smudge on me, which is a problem I have with most mascaras. It gave me some good volume as well. I would definitely try this out again!

Next up is Smashbox’s Full Exposure. I got this at a CCO a year ago. It was way too wet at first, so I let it dry out a little. And then it was too dry. I think it was more my timing rather than the formula itself, but it was too wet for my taste right off.

Then there’s the trusty Clump Crusher. I was using it mostly to separate lashes after using another mascara.

Ulta’s Raincoat is a topper that makes regular mascaras waterproof. I can’t speak to the true waterproofiness (which is totally a word!) but it keeps some of my favorites from smudging under my eyes.

I loved Eyeko’s Sport waterproof. Until I tried to remove it. This stuff is bulletproof! It also has fibers, however, which are not so bulletproof. After wearing it the first few times, those fibers dusted off into and under my eyes causing a fair bit of discomfort. Not for contact lens wearers!

I used up a sample tube of my current fave, Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes. It makes my lashes thick and fluttery. It transfers like a mother, though, so I always use it with the Raincoat.

And, finally, I tried out Julep’s volumizing mascara. I’m a Maven, so I do get discounts on their stuff from time to time. I haven’t had much luck with their makeup so far. This was thick and wet simultaneously. It just didn’t work for me.


I finished up a sample of the Marc Jacobs gel eye crayon in Blacquer. I liked this so much that I sprung for the holiday collection. It’s a dry formula, but once I got it on my watery allergy eyes, it went nowhere. I can even tightline with it.


I used up some peripheral makeup stuff. I use a disinfecting wipe on my brushes and to clean up my hands, etc afterward. The brand really doesn’t matter much.

I bought the Smashbox primer water right after it came out. And promptly regretted it. My skin didn’t like it as a primer. There wasn’t enough moisture involved. I used it, primarily, as a setting spray but I found that it smelled exactly like a hospital hallway. I didn’t appreciate that at all.

I used up a pack of Simple wipes and a couple of bottles of the micellar water, both of which I love and hoard.


I finished up a few serums. I tend to layer them, thinnest to thickest. There’s usually a vitamin c serum, a hydrating serum, and I rotate out the third depending on need. Garden Girl’s Superhero Serum is one of the latter. It is jam packed full of good stuff and my skin seems to like it. It smells a little bit like Flonase, though, as Janie-cat can attest to!

I also used a sample of the SKII essence cream. It’s not watery like the essence itself and it contains silicone which I try to avoid in my night products. So I used it as a primer and enjoyed it that way.

Mad Hippie has been my vitamin c serum of choice lately. Over time, my skin has been getting used to the serums I had been using, and this one is just the right strength. It gives me the slight flush of a product that’s doing something without burning the crap out of my skin. (Avalon Organics, I’m looking at your toner.)

The last serum I finished was the Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion. It had a slightly oily consistency, but absorbed right away. I had some flaking for a week at first, but that eventually stopped.


I finished off a sleeping mask. This saved my skin last winter, and I found that it’s light enough to use in the summer as well. It’s rather expensive, but it lasted almost 9 months.


I was really sad about this one because I love Garden Girl products. I bought it back in the spring and noticed a difference in my undereyes right away. That never happens. As the summer progressed, I began having trouble with puffiness, itchiness, and dryness. I narrowed it down to to the eye cream. I think the reaction seemed to happen when I was in the sun more than usual. (Yes, I was SPFing.)


I finished up some nail and hand care stuff, too. First off, is my most-used, most-loved stamping polish. I have never found a white to work as well as Konad’s. I cracked into my backup and will be stalking the site for a sale to replenish.

I used the last of Zoya’s Remove +. It’s expensive. I know. I don’t use it for anything other than to remove glitter polish. I don’t know what it is about the formula, but it works better than straight-up acetone for glitter for me.

I used the last of a Tony Moly peach hand cream that I got in a Beauteque bag. It smelled divine, but it felt a bit sticky.

I let go of a pump dispenser that stopped working, as well as a bottle of scented top coat that I had been using to swatch with.


And finally, I’ve decided to let go of a couple of shampoo/conditioner sets. I have thigh-length wavy, fine, dry, easily tangled hair. I also avoid silicones. The Andalou Naturals smelled lovely, but didn’t provide enough hydration.

On the other hands, I loved what the Shea Moisture did for my hair, but it smelled so strongly and the scent was so pervasive, it lasted through several washings with other shampoos.

That’s it for September! I’m excited I used up so much, but it’s a bit overwhelming all in one post. I may have to split it up next time!

De-stash & Trash – Summer 2015 Nail Empties

This is part two of my epic summer de-stash & trash.  If you didn’t catch the first one, I took a break from just about everything to get myself through the busy season at work.  But I kept track of my products just the same!

There are a lot of nail-related things this time around.  I spent a couple of weekends finishing The Great Swatchening of my collection and weeded out a few things as I went along.

De-stashed nail polish

First up is a very sheer Orly called Frozen that I picked up at a special Walgreens display.  It was hella-sheer – this is four coats – and struggled to make them even.  It just wasn’t something I ever wanted to use again.

Sally Hansen is my crack.  I know that I don’t usually like the trendy experimental collections that come out every season, but that doesn’t keep me from trying them out anyway.  This purple, called Velour, was supposed to dry down to look like the fabric.  Semi-matte and plush.  My problem with the formula was that it never really did dry and the formula was gloopy and difficult to spread evenly.  Sure, I could have used a top coat, but that would have defeated the purpose of having a textured polish in the first place.  Out it goes!

And I have met very few China Glaze polishes that I’ve actually liked.  I picked up the cult favorite Flip Flop Fantasy on a whim and regretted it the first time I tried to apply it.  The color is lovely but the formula manages to be gloopy and sheer at the same time.  To get a similar color with a better formula, try K.B. Shimmer’s Bahama Drama or Leggo My Mango.


Keeping on the anti-China Glaze theme, I had a similar experience with In a Lily Bit, the lavender cream in the middle.  Sheer, yet thick and it chipped within hours of application.  I was hoping that the glitter on the right, Tail Me Something, would be similar to my favorite from the brand, Dorothy Who?.  It’s not.  The glitter density isn’t there for it to work on its own, but it’s too dense to really be a topper.  And the chipping!

I had tried a few Rainbow Honey minis before I subscribed to the full-sized mystery bag.  The problem with the minis is that they’re really only good for one application.  Even though there’s enough polish in there for three or four, the RH formula dries up almost as soon as the air hits it.  This one was called Deep Heart Sea, and it was lovely the one time I wore it!


The same goes for Chemical Plant and Aurora.  They were lovely, but the minis are only good for one use.

base and top

I went through a couple of base coats.  My favorite is the Nailtiques Formula 2.  It doesn’t really keep my mani on very long, but to be honest, I haven’t met one yet that does.  (Yes, even Orly Bonder.)  But I don’t really mind because I feel that Nailtiques is nice to my nails and I get bored with a mani after a couple of days anyway.

Next is Rainbow Honey’s All Your Base.  (Complete with a practice O from when I did my Orioles mani in the spring, of course.)  I used this for swatching, and it worked really well.  I had to start thinning it out about two-thirds down and kept thinning it until I couldn’t get the brush saturated anymore.

Rainbow Honey sends out a lot of scented top coats, and I’m always disappointed.  Not because they don’t work or I don’t like the scents but because I just don’t want the extra step at the end of my mani.  I want to top coat and go.  So these are really wasted on me.


I went through a lot of remover.  For me, remover is remover is remover.  Really, the Sally Beauty Supply non-acetone is the only one out of the many I’ve tried is one that I will never use again.

In my Beauteque bag a couple of months ago, I got a little cup of cotton balls that were fashioned to look like cotton candy.  (Of course, it was Tony Moly!)  They were just cotton balls, but the packaging was so adorable I had to get a shot before I used them up.  I used them for both swatching and makeup removal.


Finally, I tried out one of K.B. Shimmer’s mani shots.  I loved the lemon verbena scent to this.  The smell is the main reason I enjoyed this product. I also enjoyed the fizzing.  Because who doesn’t enjoy some fizzing, right?  The soaking was relaxing, and I enjoyed the warm water.  But once I was done, I felt like my hands were drier than they were before the treatment.  I have one more in a different scent that I’m going to try to see if I get different results.

That’s it for my nail-related empties this summer!

De-stash & Trash – Summer 2015: Makeup, Beauty, & Fragrance

I take a break from just about everything during the summer.  While the rest of the world is vacationing and enjoying a break from school, librarians are enduring their busiest season of the year. I live and work in a 40,000+ town in one of the fastest growing counties in the country.  This summer, our library had over 2,000 kids participating in the annual Summer Reading Program with attendance that ranged from 60-350 at any given event with each kid checking out dozens and dozens of items afterward, creating a never-ending stream of people from open to close.

And exactly how are libraries obsolete again?

We outnumbered our main branch (which is twice as big as ours in a city three times the size) in program attendance and came within 300 of their SRP sign-ups.  Despite the huge numbers of people walking in our doors and the ever-growing statistics, we’re working with fewer man hours than we were when I was hired in a decade ago because our town council can’t really wrap its collective head around the fact that we’re an essential service, and that all these people moving into our area come from places that actually value education and culture.  They’ve kept our funding level for three years straight.

Now, we’re much luckier than a lot of libraries in our area – even the metropolitan one in the county next door.  Many budgets are getting outright cut.  But there’s one significant difference: most of those communities have stagnant or decreasing population.  Ours has doubled in a decade.

So, I’ve spent the last few months working, eating, sleeping, and working without much energy for anything else.  I have, however, been keeping track of the stuff I use up for an epic three-part D&T.

Beauty Sponge

I discarded my last ever Real Techniques Beauty Sponge.  I used to love these, but I’ve noticed the quality decreasing over the past year or so.  This particular sponge disintegrated after its second use and wash.  I’ll be springing for the Beauty Blender from now on.


I tried out a lot of mascara this summer.  I actually finished the Tarte Gifted and loved it.  Almost more than their Lights, Camera, Lashes.  It made my lashes look thick and fluttery at the same time, but just like L,C,L, it transferred on me like a mother.  I used a waterproofer over it and that made it last all day without flaking or smudging.

I finished a couple of tubes of Cover Girl’s Professional Remarkable Waterproof mascara – one ran out at the very beginning of the summer and the other I used throughout.  This is a very dry formula, which I enjoy quite a bit.  My lashes are long – even longer now, but we’ll go through that in a sec – and anything that’s wet tends to make me look like Tammy Faye Baker.  This stuff builds nicely and doesn’t smudge or transfer at all when I use it by itself.  The downside to the formula is that it tends to dry up about two months in.  But it’s an everyday workhorse mascara for me, and the benefits outweigh the longevity by a long shot!

The last two mascaras I didn’t like at all.  Urban Decay’s Perversion applied all right, but about a half an hour after application, I started to itch.  The itch just got worse the longer I wore it, and I noticed some redness on the lids after I removed it.  And it started to smudge underneath my eyes almost immediately.  I could deal with the smudging, but the reaction will keep me from trying Urban Decay mascaras in the future.

Finally, Essence’s Get Big! Lashes was also a smudger.  It didn’t do much for my lashes besides darkening them a little.  I got it as a freebie, so I didn’t feel bad just getting rid of it.

Travatan Z

This is a medication, but I felt like I needed to talk about it here because it does influence my beauty routine quite a bit.  Over the summer I was diagnosed with high eye pressure – I’m extremely nearsighted, so this is probably the cause.  I could have had surgery, but opted for the nightly eyedrops instead.  I learned later that one of the side effects of the drops was eyelash growth and possible darkening of the iris, similar to Latisse. (In fact, Latisse and eyelash growth serums like it were derived from glaucoma drops like Travatan.)

I’ve been on the drops for a little over two months and I have seen a significant change in my eyelashes.  They’re much longer, thicker, and darker.  I actually had an awkward growing-out period where they were downright unruly.  I have not had any iris darkening, but the tech at my doctor’s office said that, although very few people experience this, my blue/green/gold eyes seem to be the type that it happens to the most.  So we’ll see.


I decided to de-stash this blue Rimmel eyeliner.  I try blue eyeliner every single summer, expecting it to be a fun pop of color.  I haven’t found a blue yet that doesn’t clash with my eyes.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I’m just not comfortable working with blue.  Purple on the other hand…


I’m also de-stashing this NYX concealer.  It was one of the first I’d purchased after getting back into makeup.  It’s a couple of years old, is too hard to use for undereyes and, in the rare event that I need facial concealer, it doesn’t really cover well.


I picked up a Becca foundation on Hautelook.  While it was pale enough for me, it made my skin itch and burn almost immediately.  I took it off right away, but the redness and tenderness lasted for a couple of days.  The only other foundation I had this sort of reaction to was Stila’s Illuminating Liquid Foundation.  I’m beginning to think I need to stay away from anything that says “radiant” or “illuminating.”  I have started keeping track of ingredients to try to figure out what I might be allergic to.


I generally don’t try much fragrance because I’m kind of sensitive to them, but I keep getting samples.  So I figure I might as well sniff them, at least.  The first might as well have been called Versace Instant Headache.  I couldn’t get it out of my house fast enough!  Marc Jacob’s Mod Noir was actually pretty nice.  It was a clean, unisex scent that I actually wore for awhile.  It lasted well and didn’t turn on me. (Which is another problem I have with perfumes.  Rose in particular is my nemesis!)  While I wouldn’t spend the dough on this one particularly, I would be happy to try another sample.

So that’s it!

In addition to daily swatches, I should have the summer skincare and nail care D&T coming up in the next little while, as well as a special project polish post.

De-stash & Trash – May 2015

May was so busy! We spent a lot of time traveling or preparing to travel and then I hurtled directly into our busy season at work. I guess, I can rest when I’m dead, right?


First off, my Real Techniques sponge/Beauty Blender experiment has a definitive result. I’ve spent the past six months alternating between the two sponges. Using them with the same foundations, cleaning them with the same soaps the same way. While I felt performance was comparable, I went through four Real Techniques sponges before my Beauty Blender started to wear out. Which means, I spent $4.00 more during that time on the inexpensive sponges than I did the high end.

When I first started using the Real Techniques sponges, they would last a good three months with daily use. Now I’m lucky to get six weeks with every-other-day use before they start to disintegrate. I hate to throw down $20 just for a sponge, but with the decline in Real Techniques’ quality, the Beauty Blender is actually the most economical choice.


I did a lot of traveling this month! I picked up a couple packs of these to use so I wouldn’t have to take a whole bottle of micellar water with me. They actually did a pretty good job removing face makeup and didn’t hurt my skin like most wipes do.


I also grabbed samples and things that were almost used used up to take with me on my travels. I got this gel moisturizer in a beauty box. It was very blue. It did moisturize, but I’m starting to learn that I don’t like gels very much for my own skin. It didn’t sit under makeup well, and it wasn’t moisturizing enough for nighttime.


Finished off a Jordana 24hr Made to Last eye pencil. It looks like there’s a lot left, but it wouldn’t sharpen anymore. I really, really like this pencil! It’s one of the few I’ve tried that doesn’t transfer on my watery allergy eyes when I tightline. It’s easy to use, inexpensive, and removes fairly easily.


I finally finished this concealer! I ended up cutting the tube open and scraping out the remainer once it got hard to squeeze out. I started to miss it after a couple of weeks and ended up getting another tube.


I actually finished off a couple of these this last month. I have them in a few spots in the house. Vanity, bedside table, living room, bathroom. My daily routine isn’t always routine. I love this stuff and how gentle and effective it is!


This was okay. I love me some serums and this one was as effective as anything else I use. But while most other serums take me 2-3 months to use up, this one only lasted about three weeks. And it was spendy, even at TJ Maxx prices.


This was last year’s sunscreen. Time to replace it!


Good old Coty Airspun unscented. This did the job, but I found an Indie powder foundation that I like for that purpose as well as for setting. So I probably won’t repurchase.


So, I my skin pretty much burns right through SPF no matter how much I apply. I got some sun while I was out of town and ended up dark enough to wear this and give it a good test. I was surprised at how oily my t-zone was after wearing this for a while! It might be a good full-coverage option for winter for me.


Got through a bottle of Rainbow Honey cuticle oil in the Frozen Flame scent. I really enjoyed it!


Finished off a couple of toners. The first was nice! It felt refreshing, tingly, and hydrating at the same time. It had a natural herbal scent to it. I’ve always had good luck with Andalou Naturals.


Garden Girl’s Soothing Harmony is my favorite toner so far. I like to try other things, but I keep coming back to this one.


I switched out my Clarisonic head this month. This was the radience one. I definitely didn’t like it as much as the sensitive. The bristles are longer and softer and they bunched together. I had to do some scrubbing to feel like it was effective.


I de-stashed some skin products. The Andalou Naturals BB Cream is pretty much done. L’oreal Visible Lift had a gritty texture I didn’t care much for. The sunscreen is expired in that tinted moisturizer. I never did get the Konad CC cream to work for me. It just made me look orange. And the Manic Panic white foundation was a good idea, but my skin reacted badly to it. I’ve since found other white foundations I like for mixing that don’t burn.

De-stash & Trash – March 2015

So, there are just a few things that I moved out of the stash last month.


The first was a hyaluronic serum from a brand I can’t identify since I’ve long discarded the outside package. (Bad blogger!) It was a random TJ Maxx find, anyway. It didn’t blow me away with its sheer awesomeness, but it did provide a bit of a hydration boost over the winter. It had a dropper, and the serum had an almost jelly-like consistency, so it was difficult to get all the product out. Even with a spatula. I don’t think I would recommend it simply because of the waste involved. Unless you’re willing to take a saw to the bottle to get it open. Which I was not.


This was a sample had lying around. I tried it tentatively (because rose and I typically don’t get along) but it didn’t irritate me at all. I used it mostly to wet eyeshadows and as a finishing spray to keep things from caking. I don’t think I would actually pay for it, but it was nice while I had it.


This cream cleanser was in my project product, but I didn’t finish it. The last day I used it, I noticed some residue under the lid of the cap. I opened up the bottle and discovered mold. Way before the expiration date. Now, I know Burt’s a natural brand and he doesn’t have a lot of the preservatives other things do. But neither does Garden Girl, Nature’s Gate, or Andalou Naturals which are brands I regularly use. And I did keep this in my bathroom, where there’s more moisture. Right alongside my Garden Girl, Nature’s Gate, and Andalou Naturals products, which haven’t grown mold. I checked. Then I checked other Burt’s products I had and found mold in a shampoo and a moisturizer, the latter of which was not kept in a bathroom. Burt and I may have to part ways.


I finished my favorite holy-grail-for-now shampoo, and along with it, almost four bottles of conditioner. It makes my hair feel clean, soft, and shiny. No matter what I experiment with, I go back to this every time.


My Real Techniques complexion sponge began to disintegrate and leave tiny orange pieces of sponge behind when I used it. It seems like this is happening earlier and earlier – this one kicked it after only a month of every-other-day use. I’ve got another one that I’m rotating between a beauty blender. I’m very interested to see how they eventually measure up.


I reached the end of a sample tube of this. It does amazing things for my lashes, but isn’t very practical unless I top it with something waterproof or I’m only wearing it for a couple of hours. It smudges on me like crazy!


Had to throw out the Julep lip gloss I’d been working through because the container broke. It just snapped while it was in my jeans pocket. I’d gotten about halfway through and was really enjoying it!


Finished up a 500ml bottle of Bioderma.


Yes, that is the remnants of the a word on my hand. I can't remember what. Penguin, maybe? But we have to remember a lot of random things in a library!

And, finally, I used up a sample tube of Cargo’s Better Than Waterproof mascara. I liked this, for the most part. It’s a tubing mascara, which I’ve been seeking out more and more. It made my eyes a little sensitive when I removed it once in a while, but it volumized better than NYX’s Doll Eyes Waterproof